Open Access Research article

Prevalence and trends of markers of hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus and human Immunodeficiency virus in Argentine blood donors

Diego M Flichman115*, Jorgelina L Blejer2, Beatriz I Livellara3, Viviana E Re4, Sonia Bartoli5, Juan A Bustos6, Claudia P Ansola7, Susana Hidalgo8, Martin E Cerda9, Alicia E Levin7, Adriana Huenul10, Victoria Riboldi11, Elena MC Treviño12, Horacio J Salamone13, Felix A Nuñez14, Robert J Fernández2, Juan F Reybaud13 and Rodolfo H Campos1

Author Affiliations

1 Universidad de Buenos Aires, Cátedra de Virología, Buenos Aires, Argentina

2 Fundación Hemocentro, Buenos Aires, Argentina

3 Hospital Italiano Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina

4 Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina

5 Centro regional de Hemoterapia Jujuy, San Salvador de Jujuy, Argentina

6 Banco de sangre San Jorge, Ushuaia, Argentina

7 Servicios de Hemoterapia de la provincia de Mendoza, Mendoza, Argentina

8 Hospital Dr Enrique Vera Barros, La Rioja, Argentina

9 Hospital Dr. Lucio Molas, Santa Rosa, Argentina

10 Hospital Artémides Zatti, Viedma, Argentina

11 Hospital Regional Rio Gallegos, Rio Gallegos, Argentina

12 Banco de Sangre de la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina

13 Fundación Favaloro, Buenos Aires, Argentina

14 Servicio de Hemoterapia del Hospital Italiano, Buenos Aires, Argentina

15 Universidad de Buenos Aires, Cátedra de Virología, Junín 956 - 4 piso, ZIP code: 1113, CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:218  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-218

Published: 23 April 2014



Transfusion-transmitted infections are a major problem associated with blood transfusion. The aim of this study was to determine prevalence and trends of HBV, HCV and HIV in blood donors in Argentina.


A retrospective study was carried out in blood donors of 27 transfusion centers covering the whole country over a period of eight years (2004-2011). Serologic screening assays for HBsAg, anti-HBc, anti-HCV, and anti-HIV were performed in all centers and nucleic acid amplification testing (NAT) was performed in 2 out of the 27 centers.


The 2,595,852 samples tested nationwide from 2004 to 2011 showed that the prevalence of HBsAg decreased from 0.336% to 0.198% (p < 0.0001), that of anti-HBc from 2.391% to 2.007% (p < 0.0001), that of anti-HCV from 0.721% to 0.460%, (p < 0.0001) and that of anti-HIV from 0.208% to 0.200 (p = 0.075). The prevalence of HBV, HCV and HIV was unevenly distributed among the different regions of the country. Two out of 74,838 screening- negative samples were positive in NAT assays (1 HIV-RNA and 1 HCV-RNA); moreover, HBV-DNA, HCV-RNA and HIV-RNA were detected in 60.29, 24.54 and 66.67% of screening-positive samples of the corresponding assays. As regards donors age, positive HBV-DNA and HCV-RNA donors were significantly older than healthy donors (46.6, 50.5 and 39.5 y respectively, p < 0.001).


Argentina has a low prevalence of HBsAg, anti-HCV and anti-HIV in blood donors, with a decreasing trend for HBsAg, anti-HBc and anti-HCV but not for anti-HIV over the last 8 years. The uneven distribution of transfusion-transmitted infections prevalence among the different regions of the country highlights the need to implement regional awareness campaigns and prevention. The discrepancy between samples testing positive for screening assays and negative for NAT assays highlights the problem of blood donors who test repeatedly reactive in screening assays but are not confirmed as positive upon further testing. The uneven distribution of age between healthy donors and NAT-positive donors could be related to changes in risks of these pathogens in the general population and might be attributed to a longer exposure to transmission risk factors in elderly people.

Prevalence; Trend; Blood donors; HIV; HBV; HCV